Release Date(s)2017 (March 27, 2018)
Studio(s)Marvel Television/FX Network (20th Century Fox)
- Film/Program Grade: A-
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: C
Legion is such an unusual show, particularly for a Marvel property. As an entertainment entity, they definitely tend to branch out and try new and interesting things, as evidenced by Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, and their line-up of Netflix shows. Legion stands out among them as their most atypical venture to date. Headed up by Noah Hawley, who successfully brought Fargo to TV, this mind-bending and complex program is about a troubled man who’s suffering from schizophrenic mutant abilities. Haunted by a mind-altering demon, he falls in with a group of understanding mutants, including one who is the objection of his affections. It’s a journey of discovery that leads him and the new group of people in his life down bizarre and unsavory paths, but are any of those paths real or is it all in his mind?
Simulated realities, monsters in the darkness, astral projection, and mind control rule the roost in Legion. It’s so incredibly dark and surreal that getting acclimated to it may take more time for some viewers. It’s meant to be a disorienting experience, as seen through the eyes of David Haller, our unlikely protagonist. We experience what he’s experiencing, including incomplete and broken narratives with events that may or may not actually be taking place. Going with the flow and allowing yourself to be subjected to it with an open mind yields a more satisfactory viewing experience. Otherwise, it can be frustrating. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, it throws you major curve balls, perplexing you to the point of it feeling almost nihilistic.
Stand-out performances include its lead, Dan Stevens, as well as Rachel Keller and Jean Smart (both of whom are Noah Hawley veterans). Aubrey Plaza, however, steals the show as the dark and sexy Lenny, whom David is having some difficulty with. Legion is most assuredly a multifaceted experience, one that doesn’t always give you complete answers, but doesn’t allow you to take your eyes off of it. It’s hypnotic, if a bit pretentious, but ultimately, it’s going somewhere, and I look forward to seeing where it takes us next.
The first season of Legion comes to Blu-ray with, as one would expect, abundantly excellent picture quality. Despite being shot digitally (and occasionally slipping into a 2:35:1 aspect ratio), the show has plenty of depth in its image with a kaleidoscope of colors and deep, inky blacks. Detail is high with perfect brightness and contrast levels and nothing appears pixilated or overly sharp. It’s a crisp, textured presentation, one that represents the show’s unorthodox aesthetic quite well. The same goes for the audio, which comes in four options: English 5.1 DTS-HD, Spanish & Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Digital, and French 5.1 DTS. It’s an absolutely enveloping presentation with deep bass activity, active speaker-to-speaker movement, and clear, precise dialogue exchanges (sometimes dialed down or up for effect). It’s an aggressive show both visually and aurally, and its A/V presentation reflects that. Subtitle options include English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish.
Extras include a set of 12 deleted scenes (27 minutes worth to be exact); Fractured Reality: A Different Kind of Hero, a nearly 11-minute promotional featurette that contains interviews with the main cast and crew involved; and a set of 7 additional promotional featurettes, including Uncanny Romance, Production Design, Powers, Make-Up (Making the Devil with Yellow Eyes), Visual Effects, Costume Design, and Location.
With mind-blowing visuals and an unconventional approach to its storytelling, Legion is certainly a show meant only for those with the patience to experience what it has to offer. Its home video presentation is stellar but not perfect. It might have benefited from some audio commentaries and perhaps a sneak peek at the second season, but the deleted scenes are definitely a plus. If you’re a fan of the show, this is a great presentation of it.
- Tim Salmons